Students at the Art Institute of California in North Hollywood crowded the office building Thursday, scrambling to get their transcripts transferred after receiving an email that the school would be closing the next day.
The school, part of Argosy University, filed a motion for the emergency closure of 22 campuses Wednesday, according to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Education.
News of the school closure came after the department accused the university's parent company, Dream Center Education Holdings, of mishandling about $13 million in financial aid money that should have gone to students. Argosy allegedly used the money to cover payroll costs and other expenses.
The department cut the university off from financial aid funds, worsening the school chain's financial problems, the New York Times reported.
Students filed complaints with the education department that Argosy was failing to make payments they owed to them. In a letter, the department called it a "grievous breach of its fiduciary duty to the department."
It is unclear whether any of those students attended the school's North Hollywood campus.
The art institute in North Hollywood offered several programs including visual design, animation and film, according to its website.
One student said she was just two courses away from completing her degree.
“It’s not right that I can’t get my diploma just over two classes,” student Angelica Holguin said. “This is ridiculous. I've been here for so long and I've worked so hard."
The school's dean of academic affairs said the closure is a distraction for the students.
"They need to focus on their education," former dean David Schrieber told KTLA. "They have been bounced around like pinballs. They need to get their education and not be considered cash cows."
The cost of attending the school is about $28,000 after financial aid, according to the website.
The school posted a fact sheet to its website, listing the schools that were closing, and directing students on how to request transcripts and enrollment and degree verification as the schools close down in several states.
As of 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, students were still lined up outside the school, waiting for their transcripts.